History of the Library

The Troy Library Association

The town of Troy was incorporated in 1815 having been formed from adjoining portions of  Fitzwilliam, Richmond, Swanzey, and Marlboro.  A few individuals had talked of establishing a town library, and in 1825 the state legislature granted a petition for incorporating such an organization.  On January 16, 1826 the first meeting of the Troy Library Association was held at Forrestall’s Inn.  Mr. Lyman Wright was elected librarian, and three of the town’s leading citizens (Daniel Farrar, Salmon Whittemore and Abel Baker) were chosen “to examine and prepare the library books for distribution.”

Shares at two dollars each were sold to finance the buying of books.  It appears that fifty-four were soon taken by the citizens.  About one hundred and eighty volumes were purchased and it “being a very choice selection the library was a source of much profit to its owners.”  The books were kept in Lyman Wright’s store (now the Glenday home).

After some years the library “was neglected, the books were stored in a secluded room and the meetings (of the association) discontinued.”  But in 1859 measures were taken to revive the Association, and at a legal meeting on July 23rd, it was reorganized.  Mr. David Farrar was chosen librarian.  Valuable additions were made to the library, and on the same date the Association voted that the library was to be “free to all the inhabitants of the town, subject to the by-laws and restrictions of the Library Association.”

(Above information from “An Historical Sketch of Troy 1764-1855” by A. M. Caverly, M.D.,  pages 261-262)

There are two books in the current Gay-Kimball Library that were in the Troy Library Association.  “Works of Ossian” vol. 3 by Franckfort and Leipzig, printed for I. G. Fleischer, 1783; and, “Universal History Americanized” by David Ramsay, M.D. Vol. 3, Carey & Son, Phila. 1819.

These books could be kept by the patron for four weeks.  “Fine for the first 20 cents. 2 cents for each day after”  This was written by hand on the flyleaf and probably preceded the rules listed below which are on a printed plate in the books.
Rules of the Troy Library Association

The Library will be open every Saturday from 3-8 pm, for the delivery and return of books.

  1. Any responsible person, being an inhabitant of troy, may have the privilege of taking books from this library.  Any transient person, or persons not deemed responsible , desirous of taking books from the library may do so by some responsible resident assuming the liabilities therefore.
  2. Books taken from the library may be retained four weeks; and if retained longer time , shall pay a fine to the librarian of ten cents a week, and if retained more than 2 weeks after they are due, will be sent for by the librarian; or if lost, the full expense shall be paid therefore.
  3. No person taking books from said library shall lent them to others.
  4. Every person neglecting or refusing to pay the fine (or cost of books  when lost), for damaging or retaining books, shall be debarred any privilege of said library.
  5. Books may be delivered to any responsible person, and any person returning a book by another person it shall be considered an order for another book if said person request another book for such person, and he shall be responsible therefore and for all fines and damages.
  6. All fines are to be paid at the time of returning the book.
  7. No person or member of the same family shall take out the same book more than twice in succession.

Troy Public Library

Before too many years had passed it appears that the Library Association  again became inactive and many of the books scattered.  But in 1882 the selectmen appointed the Congregational minister to be librarian and instituted the Troy Public Library.  Rev.  Mr. D.  W. Goodale submitted this report:

An endeavor was made to gather the scattered books belonging to the library by means of notices posted in the stores and published in the papers among local items.  Only a few volumes have been returned.  The total number of old books returned and found in the old case above Me. C.W. Whitney’s store is 138.  These, together with the new books, have been placed in the new case in the Grammar School room (now Town Hall) and are in readiness for use.

The new case is made of ash, having glass doors, and will contain 250 volumes.  A set of the Library of Universal Knowledge, 15 volumes, was purchased.  Also, Michelet’s History of France in two volumes, a History of Germany in one volume, by Kohlrausch, Knight’s Popular History of England in two volumes, and Chamber’s English Literature, four volumes.”  The town had appropriated fifty dollars for the library.  The new bookcase had cost $22.00, and $26.03 was spent for books.  (From the Annual report of Town Officers, Troy, N.H., 1882, page 13)

For the next eighteen years, the town spent small amounts ranging from $4.50 to $70.00 for new books.  Mrs. Minetta Stanley was librarian (1882-1898).  During this time the practice was begun that lasted for many years of listing in the annual town reports the names of all the new books purchased.  A hundred to one hundred and fifty titles appeared  in each of  these lists.  In 1896 members of the Magazine Club contributed copies of “Outing,” “The New England Magazine,” and some other magazines and agreed to have these bound for the library.

The librarian Mrs. Minetta Stanley was paid $5 in 1883 and 1884 for her services.  The Report of the Selectmen do not mention any further payment until 1894 when she receives $20.  In 1935 Mrs. Clark was paid $170 and in three years the salary was raised to $200.

With the turn of the century Emily Barnard Turner became librarian (1899-1911) and the library was open one hour on Saturday evenings “to better accommodate those who work in the afternoon.”  “This service has been appreciated as shown by the number of patrons and of books taken.”  This same year the trustees recommended “that the town appropriate at least $100 in addition to that required by law”  ($69).  The voters agreed to this and the appropriation remained about $170 for the thirty years (until 1930).  By 1908 there were 2,000 volumes in the library and the trustees, seeing the crowded quarters, “hoped that some friend of the town might provide for us a library building.”  It would be forty-five years before this hope became a reality.

In spite of the cramped quarters new books were added and the yearly circulation climbed (in 1909 over 6,000).  Mrs. Henry Barnard (Luetta K. Barnard) became librarian (1911-1925) and, with her assistant, Miss Rena Maddox, in 1923 undertook the cataloging of the library according to the Dewey Decimal System.  The State Library Commission sent its secretary from Concord to give instruction and start this work.  The trustees report, “Our librarian has shown commendable zeal in learning the use of the typewriter in order to type cards, and in giving her time toward cataloging.”

In 1925 Mrs. Annie Clark (1925-1945), as the new librarian, received the welcome word that Mr. Walter N. Gay had given a lot to the town for a library building.  Twenty-eight years would pass before the building would be erected, but more books continued to be crowded into  the room in the Town Hall.  Rev. F.W. Oakes of Denver, Col., made a gift of 150 books from his library (in 1928), and later Miss Bertha Coolidge gave 76 books (in 1940).

The depression years saw the circulation pass the 10,000 mark for “people not working found more time to read,” and the library was opened two afternoons a week.  Mrs. Clark attended a library school and the trustees paid her expenses of $8.75.  She received special pleasure working with children and arranged books especially for them.  She also borrowed (in 1938) books from the State Library for the younger readers and found it an economical venture because the library had to pay postage only one way.

She reported during the second World War that “to date she has written 102 letters to “our boys in Uncle Sam’s forces.”  The replies were placed in a file cabinet and could be read by any one interested.  This was Mrs. Clark’s last report for she died very suddenly in 1945, bringing to a close “20 years of wonderful service” to the Troy public library.

Gay-Kimball Library

Mrs. Joseph Lagrenade became the new librarian in 1945 and was soon to see the appointment of a building committee.  Mr. Warren Kimball had left a bequest amounting to about $12,000 for the construction of a library.  Finally in June, 1953, the new library was opened to the public and was named the Gay – Kimball Library in memory of the two men who had contributed the land and the capital.  The annual library appropriation was used to pay the various final expenses when the funds of the bequest were exhausted.  Friends contributed some of the equipment and the Troy Woman’s Club had the grounds landscaped and shrubbery planted.

The modest brick building had a main floor with shelving, study and display areas, and a rest room.  In the basement is a furnace room, storage space, and a large room suitable for story hours, art exhibits and small community gatherings.

Special features of the library included: a collection of books in the Finnish language; gifts of paintings from local artists; and an active Friends of the Library.  In addition to the bi-monthly meeting of the Friends, they sponsored the observance of National Library Week, held a story hour twice a month, and have purchased a record player and movie projector for the library.

In 1965 the library became affiliated with the New Hampshire Library Development System.  This same year saw the town of Troy observing the 150th anniversary of its founding.  The library participated in this celebration by having an art and historical exhibit.  Over 350 people visited the library in one day.

In 1882 the library had less than two hundred books and the town appropriated $50 for its use.  Today there are over 10,000 volumes and the town appropriation is $2,250.  In addition there is a yearly income of $673 from trust funds amounting to over $16,000.

Conclusion

The 144 years of the Troy Library reveal the earnest desire of the town to maintain useful books and services for its citizens.  The future holds new opportunities and challenges to continue this same purpose.

Addendum

A dedicated library building was constructed in 1952 and enlarged in 1972. In 1999 the Library was again renovated and expanded to provide 5,000 square feet on three levels, all fully accessible by an elevator.

In 2001, library open hours were expanded by 18 percent. Currently the Library is open 26 hours per week. Trust fund income, book sales, and other fundraising efforts supplement the money raised for the Library by taxation.

(Information taken from town reports)

Librarians

Lyman Wright                                   1826

David Farrar                                      1859

Rev. David W. Goodale                  1861-1882

Mrs. Minetta Stanley                        1882-1898

Emily Barnard Turner                     1899-1911

Mrs. Henry Barnard                         1911-1925

Miss Rena Maddox, assistant        1911-1924

Mrs. Annie Clark                              1925-1945

Mrs. Joseph Lagrenade                  1945-

Trustees

Asa C. Dort                            *1890-1930

Melvin T. Stone                    *1893-1933

Franklin Ripley                     *1896-1898*

Henry L. Barnard                 *1903-1921              *Records are incomplete

Jacob O. Rich                         1922-1930

Albert Hanscom                     1933-1943

George K. Ripley                    1933-1954

Joseph T. Hawkins                1934-1947

William J. Prario                     1944-1949

William J. Hartley                   1948-1952

Margaret W. Cumings           1950-1953

1955-1962

Samuel E. Paul                      1952-1956

Harry T. Nish                           1953-1958

Andrew W. McKew, Jr.          1957-1965

Alan Wheeler                         1959-1961

Herman K. Schierioth           1962-1964

Nelson Edoff                                      1963-1966

Marion R. Austin                    1965-

Aili R. Paul                              1966-

John C. Callahan                  1967-